The Olentangy Berlin High School boys and girls swimming and diving teams have started strong off the blocks.
The Bears won their first two meets heading into the Ned Reeb Invitational on Dec. 7 and 8 at Ohio State. The boys scored 90 points to defeat Wellington (44) and Grandview (37) on Nov. 26 at Columbus Aquatics Center, and the girls scored 539 to finish ahead of Grandview (525) and Wellington (322).
On Dec. 1, both teams earned championship trophies in the 18-team Athens Invitational at Ohio University. The girls (206) ran away with the title ahead of runner-up Canal Winchester (146), and the boys scored 151 to finish one point better than runner-up Lancaster.
"We won the first two meets of the season, which was great," junior Garrett Graybill said. "I was definitely surprised (about the win at OU). The girls were leading the whole time and we were 20 points behind, but we caught up at the end."
Graybill was joined by freshman Brogan Robinson and juniors Jack Nebraska and Ben Paull on the first-place 200-yard freestyle relay (1 minute, 34.26 seconds). The same four were on the runner-up 200 medley relay (1:46.01).
Paull was second in the 50 free (22.9) and 100 free (52.78), and Robinson was runner-up in the 500 free (4:54.22).
The girls were led at OU by junior Grace Butcher, who won the 100 butterfly (1:00.93) and 100 breaststroke (1:07.57). She also was on the winning 200 medley relay (1:58.14) and 200 free relay (1:47.34) with freshmen Callista Rousher and Staci Nation and sophomore Julia Ritzler.
Rousher won the 100 backstroke (1:05.68) and was second in the 50 free (26.59).
Coach Glenn First said he knew his swimmers had potential, but he wasn't sure how much until they started turning out impressive performances.
"When I got the psych sheets the week before (the Athens meet), I thought our girls had a decent shot of being in the top three depending on how well we would swim," he said. "We had been working really hard in practice and putting in quite a bit of yardage so I wasn't sure how that would translate in terms of speed and finishes, but they performed really well in the meet."
Ritzler enjoys being part of the first-year program.
"We kind of get to build these new traditions," she said. "Most of us went to the original Olentangy last year and there was this kind of oldness about it, which was kind of cool. But now we get to build our new traditions and build what we want to be the important parts of the team."
Other key performers for the 19-member girls team include sophomores Aubrey Pritchard and Olivia Young.
"The girls team is looking really strong," First said. "We have a little more depth on the girls with Grace, Callista, Julia and Staci looking pretty solid and Aubrey and Olivia Young adding depth."
Sophomore Carson Reed also should be a top performer for the 15-athlete boys team.
Sophomore Graham Reed is the lone diver in the program.
"We have a pretty balanced boys team," First said. "As far as our relays go, we have four pretty good guys for our 'A' relay, and we have some depth so we have a pretty good 'B' relay behind them. We have a couple of brand new guys who might be battling by the end of the year to be on that 'A' relay."
In the Ned Reeb meet, Robinson was seventh in the 200 individual medley (2:01.1) and 11th in the 500 free (4:52.12).
Girls basketball team picks up first win
The girls basketball team was 1-3 overall before playing New Albany on Dec. 11.
The Bears defeated host Delaware 58-46 on Dec. 4 for their first victory in their first OCC-Cardinal Division game. Jess Nation led with 22 points and Maddie Goodman and Courtney Suchan both scored 12.
Nation had 12 points as Berlin lost to Dublin Scioto 49-39 on Dec. 7 to fall to 1-1 in the league.
Through four games, Nation was averaging a team-best 12.3 points and Suchan was averaging 8.8 points.
Boys basketball team loses first three contests
The boys basketball team was looking for its first victory entering its fourth game Dec. 11 against St. Charles.
The Bears are 0-2 in the OCC-Cardinal after losing to Dublin Jerome 100-40 on Dec. 4 and Scioto 41-31 on Dec. 7.
Through three games, Grant Schrieber was averaging a team-high 10.7 points, followed by Austin Corley (7.0) and Zak Stevens (5.0).
SWIMMING & DIVING
Nov. 26 -- Grandview and Wellington at Columbus Aquatics Center
Dec. 1 -- Athens Invitational at Ohio University
Dec. 7-8 -- Ned Reeb Invitational at Ohio State
Dec. 11 -- at Thomas Worthington with Bloom-Carroll and Worthington Kilbourne
Dec. 15 -- Columbus Academy, DeSales and Hartley at Ohio Wesleyan
Dec. 21 -- Delaware County Classic at Ohio Wesleyan
Dec. 29 -- Dublin Scioto at Dublin Recreation Center
Jan. 6 -- Liberty, Olentangy and Orange at Ohio Wesleyan
Jan. 12 -- Hilliard/Olentangy Challenge at Hilliard YMCA and Northeast Classic at Branin Natatorium in Canton
Jan. 19 -- at St. Charles with Columbus Academy and Olentangy Orange
Jan. 26 -- OCC-Cardinal meet at Thomas Worthington
Feb. 1 -- Westerville South and Worthington Christian at Westerville Recreation Center
Below are the coming schedules for the Berlin boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling, gymnastics, hockey and wrestling teams:
*Dec. 14 -- Home vs. Hilliard Bradley
*Dec. 14 -- At Bradley
*Dec. 14 -- Westerville South at Columbus Square Bowling Palace
*Dec. 17 -- Delaware at Delaware Lanes
Dec. 14 -- Oxford Talawanda in Kent Roosevelt Rough Riders Tournament at Kent State
Dec. 15 -- Hudson Western Reserve and Roosevelt in Kent Roosevelt Rough Riders Tournament at Kent State
Dec. 16 -- TBA in Kent Roosevelt Rough Riders Tournament at Kent State
*Dec. 19 -- Orange at Chiller North
Dec. 14-15 -- Liberty Classic